The homeowner couldn’t continue to ignore the unpleasant musty smells that seemed to be emanating from beneath the floors in their home. Nor could they continue to deny hearing strange sounds that seemed to be coming from the same location. So they called in a professional to have a look at their crawl space.
What the Professional Discovered in The Crawl Space
• Damp, moldy wood: The homeowner had never ventured into their crawl space before, but the professional thought they might want to experience the condition of it first hand. To characterize it as moldy would be an understatement. The lumber in the crawl space had been wet for a long period of time due to a lack of air circulation. Over the years, damp air from the living space had
condensed on the wood framing, and a lack of proper ventilation and heat transfer through the floor above compounded the dampness.
• Wet and damaged insulation: It almost made the homeowner sick to see and smell what was left of the insulation in their crawl space. It was discolored and tore apart when touched. In a word it was sickening, and, combined with the wet wood framing, had created a serious health hazard to all those in the household. The entire space was home to large colonies of dangerous mold and mildew.
• A Home for Rodents: What was particularly disgusting was the presence of the rodent nests in the insulation. The rodent feces found in the insulation and on the floor of the crawl space was repugnant and smelled terrible. The professional pointed out that this particular type of rodent, know as Norway rats, are a common pest here in the Pacific Northwest.
• An Infestation of Insects: When the homeowner saw with their own eyes the extent of the infestation of pests in their crawl space, they found it hard to believe. The professional pointed out more than one wasp nest attached to corners of the crawl space. This was particularly frightening because a member of the household had allergies to stinging pests. Several ant beds clustered
around the floor, and there were plenty of cobwebs spun by an apparently large nest of spiders in one corner of the crawl space. There was no evidence of bats – however, the professional said he would not have been surprised to have encountered one.
This Could Be Your Home
If the nightmare portrayed above seems far-fetched and like something that could never happen to your home, think again. When a home’s crawl space has been neglected for an extended period of time, each and every one of the the problems in this nightmare scenario can materialize.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way! If you want to avoid such a scenario in your own home, consider putting into place the following six recommendations for creating a crawl space that’s conducive to a healthy environment.
1. Insulation: Have a professional evaluate the condition of your existing insulation. Be prepared to have it replaced if necessary.
2. Properly Seal Vents: Make sure all your air vents and ducts have been sealed by a professional.
3. Have Vapor Barriers Checked: If they’re in good working order they’ll help keep moisture from finding its way into your crawl space.
4. Address Mold and Mildew: Even a small amount of mold or mildew can have detrimental health effects if allowed to grow. Mold must be removed and steps taken to prevent excessive moisture – which breeds mold and mildew – from entering the crawl space.
5. Keep Your Crawl Space Clean: Your crawl space probably requires an initial, thorough cleaning, but don’t stop there. Periodic cleanings tend to uncover potential problems well before they occur.
6. Schedule Routine Pest Control: After an initial eradication of pests, be sure and sign up for a pest control plan that provides periodic inspections and treatments to keep pests from ever returning to your home again (they're persistent little creatures).
In the nightmare scenario described above, it was fortunate for the homeowner that a competent professional was called in to evaluate the condition of the crawl space. This professional was able to not only identify a succession of problem areas, but also offered immediate solutions for each and every one.
If you're looking for crawl space professionals in the Pacific Northwest, Clean Crawls has been helping homeowners for over 20 years in dealing with their crawl space nightmares, no matter how large or small. Before you find yourself confronted with a possible nightmare scenario involving your own crawl space, contact Clean Crawls for a free crawl space inspection.